happy new year to you. i'm huber rose -- and we will talk about the top religious news stories of 2015. so on behalf of us, we wish you a very happy new year. we're glad you are here. my top story -- for the religious news of 2015 comes from pope francis and his very first cyclical -- first sermon to the whole world -- goes this way. and the words of the beautiful -- st. francis of assisi, coming home reminds us of a sister from which we share our life and a beautiful mother who
opens the arm to embrace us. breeze -- praise be to you, my lord. and he says, the sister, the earth, cries out to us -- because of the harm we have inflicted on her by irresponsible use and abuse. and it is a call to renew the earth and make that a religious calling. a beautiful wonderful first sermon -- first big deal encyclical from pope francis. ron, how about you? >> i think when you talk about pope francis -- let me also add -- i think of a quote from dr. martin luther king jr. when he said that -- religion that does not concerned -- only for the souls of people, but not for the political social economic conditions that strangled the soul -- that drives religion -- i think some of our stories -- interfaced with some of the political social issues of our time. pope francis along with the environment -- that he came
to america -- you first came to cuba. and then he came to america to address washington and the congress. he was also in new york and philadelphia. and mention him because, in that speech, the joint session of congress, he mentioned four persons that have influenced us in this culture. our values and so forth. thomas merton, dorothy hayes -- a catholic social worker, dr. martin luther king
jr. for his emphasis on civil rights -- and you mentioned abraham lincoln. i was impressed with the fact that he had such knowledge of our country and did his homework -- like a good jesuit does. so along with the encyclical in terms of the environment, his emphasis on social rights through these individuals that have impacted our world -- so i thought that was very insightful of him. >> francis, the first jesuit pope -- is surprised everyone
by choosing st. francis of assisi. one of your big stories is -- the pope addresses congress? >> right. and the issues that face our country and face the world. and they use that platform to talk about the issues that i think interface with all of the world around us. >> what is another story? >> the story i
was really going to start off with was the supreme court decision this summer -- this past summer, 5- 4 to legalize same-sex marriage. and the court causes ripples throughout -- california or some other states and says, -- and another say -- state says no. and of course, that gave the right for all who have supported the lgbt community for years. that you might say gave the
legal right -- and the issue of justice for a lot of people. that doesn't end the story. we noted nominations and religion, contact -- congregation is still debating. i think presbyterians are further along -- and lutherans made some steps in that direction. the ucc which is -- probably the only one far ahead -- in the 1800s, they were the first ordained african-americans, women and gay lesbians. the issue of gay marriage was not an issue for them. we're still struggling with that. and of course more conservative denominations have rejected altogether. when it is legal, it seems to open the door for a lot of people and a lot of joy came as a result. >> that is on my list as well from a different standpoint because following that, there was tim davis he was a clerk in kentucky. she had to register the
marriages. and she said, i'm not going to do that because that valid -- violates my freedom of religion and conscience that a marriage as only between a man and a woman. this went immediately to the supreme court. and it got there very quickly because the judge in the local town said, that is very well that you are going to jail. and the supreme court with one sentence said, no, that is it. you have to enforce the law. and the law trumps your religious liberty. and now she has a deal to reach a compromise -- so the associate signs the thing -- so this goes back to a larger story of a year ago from the supreme court with hobby lobby -- and they said -- no, we do not want to pay the medical insurance for our employees when it comes to birth control. >> right. >> and the supreme court -- 5-4 again, said no, you must
-- you don't have to pay that -- even though you are a private company -- privately owned, and you are you legal corporation, you don't have to pay that if it violates your religious freedoms and loss. it is an amazing thing -- and after hobby lobby, congress passed something that said, no, you can do that. and it led to this big turmoil going on about -- what are the boundaries of your religious rights? and what can the state say -- to say, no, you may hold that privately -- but in the public, you will be upholding the law whether you object to it or not. there will be a lot of activity. a lot of activity in church and state -- when we come back, ron swisher will share his top stories in the religious perspective in this year of
top religious news stories, 2015 -- we have the reverend ron swisher to this time is sharing with us rather than hosting. ron, more of your thoughts. >> sure. i think that a few years ago, nelson mandela was a huge story because of his 29 years in prison and then came out and for gave his captors. and the huge story this year was the person who killed those people in the church in south carolina, charleston, south carolina. of course the horror of it shocked us all -- in the church -- having a bible study. and the person comes in and kills eight people and the minister. the other fact is that the very next day, the forgiveness --
we forgive you -- which is so hard for a lot of us. but it seems like they take it seriously, their faith. father, forgive them -- because they do not know what they do. on the other hand, he knew what he was doing. that is even a larger ability to forgive. i think that forgiveness has really been a mark and our life this year -- can we forgive? i think they say -- how long can you forgive? and do you forgive the killer? top articles. something we wrestle with. many people feel it is a process. and you can't do it overnight. for overnight -- it seems like miraculous. and however we feel about that -- forgiveness needs to be a critical aspect. >> it goes back to the gospel story -- when the disciples said -- lord, how many times must i forgive? as many as seven.
jesus responds, 70 times. the man went away disheartened. total forgiveness. what was the reason given for that shooting? >> as a result, he never really did say -- except -- black -- it was a racial -- but it also created a backlash on the flag -- this amazing thing -- they removed that flag. >> it started from that. it definitely was a racial issue. but he didn't seem to say all the other motives that were there -- but we saw -- the literature and all of that. >> sort of double forgiveness. because you are targeted because of race. and that is another thing to
forgive. another story. >> collected to that -- connected to that has been the black lives matter movement. supported by -- by that has been a lot of religious communities -- from the unitarians, to mainland denominations to evangelical groups. and seeing the importance that life among black and african- americans account. it doesn't mean that other people's lives don't matter. but because we have been targeted so much, in terms of -- not only the lack of employment, but the violence we have experienced -- also -- for many of us, the police misconduct -- we see -- so many accidents -- accident here -- and then the prosecutor says it is justified. and that is difficult when a 12- year-old boy is killed or someone is choked by six police officers.
all of this, right down the line. so the like lives matter -- has had to address that in terms of violence -- we don't condemn all police officers. but the misconduct of those should be addressed and confronted. and when there is always this code of silence among police officers, we have a difficult time. some who will speak out against that -- so that is a real concern. >> another one. >> i would say the refugees. the refugees from -- from all over who have gone from syria -- i think it is amazing that germany has opened their doors to a couple million people.
we know that the chancellor is the "time"% of the year. opening up the doors -- the economy of germany the ways that they have been so -- yet in world war i and world war ii -- they were seen as the enemy. they are the ones opening the doors to all of these millions of refugees whereas we -- want to put walls up. i understood some of that -- the idea that we are a country of immigrants -- in which we have always opened doors. i think those who do come from those countries are under great scrutiny -- more than any other. so i think refugees is a huge issue. >> and the former enemy teaches us now about compassion. >> we will be back. we will take a break. more religious stories of 2015. stay with us.
we're here with reverend ron swisher sharing top stories of 2015. what else, ron? >> in religion, we have seen the loss of about 700,000 people leave conventional churches -- religions -- every year for the last 10 years. so the fastest growing number now are those that check none or done. and when we come back, -- what do you do when you lose that many people? what does that say to us -- for our religious commitment. >> in california -- it shows about 50% of people attend worship and about 50%
down. you have to wonder -- how many of that 50% are buddhists or muslims? or hindus? and how many are christians? you are right. this shows -- particularly people 18 up to 40 -- very much -- who is losing people? the mainline protestants. >> they have become a sideline. >> yes. we are a sideline. where that is going to go, i don't know. but that brings up a story -- i was going to talk about called, the benedict option. and there is a writer and editor -- conservative editor -- he does the dallas morning news. he went to the templeton foundation and said -- he read something by a guy -- named mcintyre -- you said basically -- people who are conservative christian religions are simply withdrawing. they are simply saying, the society is in decline.
it is not who we are anymore. it is not the america we now. and so they are simply taking what they are calling the benedict option to say -- okay, society, you go ahead and do whatever you want. we're going to retreat and pray and to ourselves. and withdrawing from the society -- it is an interesting concept. we will see how that goes. what else? >> i think we have to go back to -- because we have not resolved it. and that is gun violence. what are we going to do about gun violence? i have friends who are hunters and friends who have guns. i have clergy colleagues who have guns. so they understand -- it is not in violation of the second amendment which everyone raises when you talk about some type of -- of registration. but we have to do something.
because -- since sandy hook, the killings have been going on and mass killings. and connected with that, the anti-muslim killings. and yet, many of these killings have not been by muslims -- from sandy hook to the theater to going all the way back to timothy mcveigh in oklahoma. they were not muslims. yet, we have all of this anti- muslim killings. there are the mass killings from all kinds of people -- that should not have guns. >> and usually -- somehow often -- seem to claim god in the mix of all of this. >> right. >> planned parenthood -- the mamma shot the planned parenthood last year -- >> did it for god. >> for god -- it is a real concern -- we are 5% of the worlds population. and we own 40% of the world's guns. what about our next-door
neighbor in canada. one hundred homicides a year. we have 100 homicides in one city. it just goes on and on. and the death by children -- because of guns. >> guns left around the house. >> careless -- don't want to lock them up. it is just amazing what has happened there. >> it is a big concern of everyone -- how to deal with it. >> what else? >> to switch of it -- i think one of the big stories was star wars. >> i think star wars -- of course, $1 billion in one week -- it is still going on. and probably will top -- avatar -- which is number one -- $2.8 billion -- but it is the attitude wanting to connect to something larger then we are. i preached on christmas eve some time ago about -- in the beginning -- the word was god
and that word became flesh among us. and god was trying to connect us to that beginning -- what we all long for. and i think that is what the star wars, star trek and the chronicles of narnia and all of those things do so well. the lord of the rings -- we have something in on us that wants to go beyond us. cons christian anderson said -- of -- every person -- life is a fairytale written by god. >> that's good. >> i think that is what they have tapped into -- star wars and all of the creators of that. so if they are leaving the church and half the spiritual longing -- longings to go beyond. >> yes. the star wars saga -- of
them in 2015. i left one of my stories over there -- i wonder if my two assistance can bring me those stories rather quickly here. before we run out of time. thank you gentlemen. children we found on the studio here. >> [ laughter ] >> here are some of my stories. praise to you, my lord, -- this from the pope lifting up his first encyclical to st. francis of assisi. the ones we have not talked about -- nuns on the bus -- to do with the women religious who got into a scrape with the vatican -- were put under -- and that was all taken away. our local nuns on the bus win big. kentucky clerk, hobby lobby -- this goes to the continuing supreme court puzzle over religion and what rights you have -- and has led to the
newest ruling -- which said, gay/lesbian marriages will be recognized everywhere. number four -- you goes to church does especially in california? it turns out that who doesn't go to church are mainline protestants and some roman catholics. who does go to church are conservative christians -- also a high incidence of muslim, hindus, -- et cetera. and so the diversity in america -- who goes to church in california -- but attendance is still lower than many of the other states. the 21st century exodus -- we talked about from the war in syria -- we were in the island -- when the blade boat took us to athens. the number and there -- 18 up to 30 -- piled onto the boat and slept in hallways and on the decks. 4 million people leaving syria
in the ongoing war there -- not to mention iraq and afghanistan. and better read up on other religions -- because christianity is about to become a minority religion in this country and in the world. muslims surging. but this will no longer be a majority christian nation -- it remains so -- a few studies say in 2015 -- it will be a plurality. and so, the gtu -- we put up because the gtu has come and it is a center in berkeley that has so many buddhist studies, hindu -- any religion in the world is in there. talking with one another. this is a good news story. the religions of the world coming together despite what it may look like on the outside. and the number eight story -- ron swisher -- as an ongoing host of mosaic, for 2016 -- we are very proud of that.
and you may have noted in the newspaper -- hospital accused of denying care -- a story you should follow because a woman wanted to have a tubal ligation and the hospital said, no. we are roman catholic. we are not going to do that. this will be a big story in 2016. ron, words to close, we have about a minute and a half. >> we often say and have heard that people are spiritual but not religious. i think the two go hand-in- hand. religion tells us how to do it. that is prayer, study, worship and service. spirituality tells us why we do it. for god, for christ, for the spirit. i think you cannot have one without the other. >> there we have it. that is the new year. we are out of time. ron swisher, i look forward to hosting you in 2016. why don't you get out and go to church. pick one around the corner.
hello everyone. welcome to bay sunday. i'm your host, frank mallicoat. if you would like to connect with us, we would love to hear from you. just go to our website, click on connect and you will get the information and the link to our social media pages. we have facebook and twitter. all the work. our first guest is a psychologist, a performance coach and a teacher who has been helping people take tests for over 40 years. he has helped students, pulitzer prize winners -- overcome stress, reach goals for high levels of confidence. here to explain more about the essential tools to improve test performance is dr. ben bernstein -- author